Lionel O-27 log dump troubles

Hi all,
I'm a model railroading newbie. I got a Lionel starter set a couple
of years ago, and have been picking up a new piece or two here and
there. Generally I only get the thing out around Christmas.
I started out thinking that Lionel was the big name with the history
behind it, but I have had enough trouble that I'm really starting to
doubt Lionel's quality control.
Anyway, I have a log dump car, cat #6-26797 I think. Lionel has
inexplicably omitted any catalog numbers from the car, the packaging,
and the documentation, but it seems to match the one listed on the
official website. I just obtained the 0-27 gauge operating/uncoupling
remote control track, cat # 6-12746.
The log dump car appears to operate by sliding contact shoes on each
truck, each of which contacts a fourth rail that runs half the length
of the remote control track. So when both slider shoes are contacting
the fourth (and fifth) rail(s), the circuit is completed and the
dumping mechanism is actuated.
It's a good theory, but the problem is that it almost never works. I
checked the voltage across the fourth and fifth rails, and it seems
okay. As near as I can tell, the sliding shoes are not reliably
contacting the rails. If I manually set the car on the operating
track just so, it works. If the car is being pulled by the engine, it
almost never works. Seems like as it goes around the track it gets
ever-so-slightly misaligned so that there is not good contact when it
hits the operating section.
Is there any kind of fix for this? It is truly irritating to be
unable to . . . uh . . . dump my logs. Surely there must be a better
solution than jiggling the car as it sits there? Or am I doomed to
give up and sell the whole mess on eBay?
BTW the "uncoupling" function seems to work perfectly.
Thanks for any help,
--LabRat
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LabRat
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